View Full Version : I have a dilemma regarding seperation anxiety - another pup/dog?

10th July 2009, 04:29 AM
Hi folks....I have been hanging around here a while,avidly reading others posts,crying,laughing,relating....
.....pondering over whether to share one of my big time doggy agonies with you and to ask your advice or not for fear of being....god forbid...an unspoken seemingly never to be discussed semi-novice!!...not a fully broken in professional dog handler - yet!!

*Deep breath* Here goes.....

My dog suffers badly from seperation anxiety (there I said it lol)

I got him when he was nearly a year old and he is now officially just over four (tho vets reckon by his teeth he may well be at least a couple of years or so older)
Anyhow.(As is with this breed I know) Titch is very mummyfied. He loves me -as I do him very much. He also loves his family (my kids) but not as much as me.
Whenever I go out he stresses big time i.e. barks,howls,whines,sits on windowsill,licks windows(:-O),tugs at his chest fur :-( dribbles,refuses to eat,scratches at door....to the point where the neighbours have knocked citing this as a real problem.
Sometimes I have come in to Tich with a chest soaking wet with saliva and a dog so hyped at seeing us for about half an hour.

It stresses me to see him so distressed :-(

Doggy day care centres just dont exist in my area.Either you board your dog overnight,you kennel your dog or you need your dog walked at some assigned two hour point in the day.....no dropping doggy off on your way out and picking doggy up on your way home :eek: (as would be ideal for me)

He is highly intelligent and so I have tried the.....allocating him an area which is his/rationing him to a smaller space while we are out,leaving him for a minute then two minutes then five minutes etc to no avail.
I think there must have been some damage done before I met him i.e. his previous owners may have left him for unacceptable amounts of time?? Hes only left(and I make sure of this)for max 3.5 hrs 2/3 times pw
Perhaps he experienced a scary time of some sort when left alone for a period when he was young??

Anyway,the positive way is forward and this is where I really need your advise!

Do I ....

a) Get another dog to keep him company....if so....

aa) A pup

ab) An older dog...rescue/ex puppy mill


b) Brave it thru keep trying the DAP diffuser,radio,cats company,dog sitter who can only have him on a monday,try the water spray,high pitch sound(cringe)collar,sedatives(not tried yet tbh :-O)

c) Dog behaviourist in home application :-\

d) Other !!!

Im fast running out of ideas and upon asking loads of peoples opinions the majority have suggested getting another dog but I dont want to run a high risk of doubling the problem!
What could be worse for a neighbour than the next door neighbours dog howling the place down when its owners have gone out and left him forever.....TWO dogs howling the place down when their owners have left them forever and ever!!

I would love to get another dog but the last thing I wanna do is make the issue worse and introduce another(possibly troubled)animal into a house with a squiffy equilibrium :-?

10th July 2009, 10:15 AM
One of mine has terrible seperation anxiety. First off, I really recommend trying leaving the room for a short peroid of time and then coming back. Doing this a few times a day reassures the dog that you will be back and being left alone isn't as bad as he thinks it it. Secondly, have you tried giving him something to entertain himself while you are away - make sure it's not something he could choke on - plastic bottles with bits of food inside them, kongs etc. can keep them occupied for ages.

My chap is a rescue, he was left alone all the time, had no human (or any other) contact and had very bad behavioural problems. A lot of work and a lot of patience later he is reasonabley stable. Still have massive bouts of seperation probelms but he tends to be better overall. He has other dogs to keep him company but sometimes he just gets stressed. Another dog may be the solution but perhaps look at all options before you go down this road. I am all for doggie company but if he has problems now another dog may not cure them.

Good luck and keep us posted!

10th July 2009, 12:41 PM
One of the reasons Mindy came into our lives was because of the separation anxiety our Golden had. It might have been pure dumb luck (I probably didn't put as much thought and research into it as you have) but it did seem to help. Mindy was very lonely when Zeus died. Since having Max she no longer cries when I go to work.

10th July 2009, 12:50 PM
I got a rescue to help Lucky with the separation anxiety. Sparky is a puppy mill rescue.

I love the idea of getting a rescue and I'm VERY glad I got lil' Sparks, but be aware that a rescue might end up with bigger issues than the ones you currently are facing. Sparky is more anxious than Lucky who now is a super calm angel dog .... and Sparky's nickname is Barky for a reason. ;)

If you have the patience to tackle puppyhood again, I'd probably recommend you go that route because then you have a lot more control over getting him properly socialized, etc. and you won't have to deal with rescue problems in addition to the separation anxiety.

In the end, only you can decide what's best for you, but that's my opinion, FWIW. I think getting a 2nd is a really good idea though ... these dogs are such social creatures they hate to be alone.

11th July 2009, 01:35 AM
Our little Cav Yoko was not real bad with seperation anxiety but we could tell it could be a problem. We ended up with a Springer and it really seemed to pep her up!!

11th July 2009, 04:09 AM
Hello :)

What I have done with my three is to develop a routine using the kennel. The kennel is in our bedroom upstairs and the kennel has soft bedding. When I shower or do something at home and can't watch them.....they go into the kennel. I give them a tiny training treat when they go in. I am home most of the time so every day around noon until 3pm they take a nap in their kennel.....they love it so much that they will 'remind' me that it is time for a nap if 1pm rolls around and I haven't put them in their bed. When they are 'napping' I go in and out of the room....OR...stay in the room and read....OR that is when I leave the house to do some errands. It is this routine that allows them to relax and not stress out..I can leave and they don't know I am gone. Of course not everyone has the time for this sort of routine, but it works for me. They do not associate the kennel ('nap times') as the time when they will be left alone....I think they find comfort & security in their kennel.

If they are downstairs and I go outside without them even just for a couple of minutes....they will bark and stress out....scratch the door jams....a basic freak out. They have separation anxiety when not in their kennel but are calm when in it.

Hope this helps!

Claire L
11th July 2009, 09:13 AM
First off :hug:you're not the first person to have this problem and you certainly won't be the last. I really feel for you because that howling cry that they have is just heart breaking.

I remember when our Minnie Moo came to us first; she suffered terribly from separation anxiety. I tried Dr Petals Elixir and even bought a baby gate so she could see me but not be in my space...........she howled and it sounded like "Ock! Ock! Ock! " She followed me everywhere and I mean everwhere!! If I went out and left her at home with my hubby; she would go upstairs and get in her bed (later her crate) and stay there until I returned. About three weeks after she came to us, Cara came back to us and as soon as she came into the house, Minnie seemed to RELAX immediately. It was almost like she breathed a long sigh of relief and decided that everything was going to be ok now. Having two dogs, I found , was far better because of the reasons already mentioned by others.

Whatever you decide; I hope it all works out for you.

12th July 2009, 12:50 AM
You could try a kitten. We have a cat and he was under a year old when we got Maisy. The two are the best of buddies. They play hard but occasionally sit side by side and lick each other.

I work 4 days a week but have a dog walker come and spend time with Maisy for an hr each afternoon. I use a babygate to keep Maisy in the laundry room with toys, her crate and a dog bed. The cat is free to jump in and out of the room. When I get home at night the cat is always in with Maisy ...Maisy is usually in the bed and the cat in the crate.

A cat won't whine or bark and doesn't need to be housebroken. Our cat is an exotic shorthair which is known for their sweet laid back temperment and are good with other animals. You can see a couple of pics of Maisy and Wally in my album under my profile.

Good luck!

13th July 2009, 08:22 PM
Lynn that's great advice. People can use an entire room for the same purpose. I use both -- crates or the dogs' room. All I have to do is grab a handful of kibble and they go tearing upstairs to wait in their room, and at night they all go tearing into their crates. If I need them to be really quiet while i am at home or going out, I put them in their crates because they absolutely associate the crate with calm, sleeping time. If you room or crate train to treats and/or favourite (safe!) toys, being left alone will have a good association.

I always strongly recommend never leaving a dog loose to roam through the house when no one is at home -- for many dogs (again as Lynn notes, same for me) this makes them ultra-anxious. If they have a safe more limited place to go, they tend to be much happier and also are safer-- a million things can happen to free roaming dogs and the one time they decide to do something they have never done before might be the last time...

On the larger question -- this is a real challenge for really anxious dogs. I think it isn't a bad idea to have a trainer come and observe your routine for leaving the dog -- lot of time we give them loads of signals that actually encourage the anxious behaviour, and we don't manage the whole process very well. Many people find that their dog does none of this behaviour when staying with someone else or being boarded.. just as with eating 'issues' often the issue is us! We are reinforcing the problem without realising it.

That said: anxious dogs do tend to do better with a companion but again not if the owner is accidentally reinforcing anxious behaviour, in which case the second dog may just pick up on the routine.

I do think most dogs are much happier and mentally healthy with a companion.

The problem with a cat is most cats probably will not be really friendly with a dog, not enough to form a strong friendship -- and they can be risk to each other (eg a scared cat, even a friendly one, can take an eye out in a second, while a startled or stimulated dog can chase and kill a cat. In general cats and dogs are best introduced while both are small or when one is a gentle adult and one a baby.

In your case -- I'd probably get a trainer in to review the departure process and recommend on where to keep the dog, and also consider a companion dog. :)

Also: I'd get the rest of your family more involved with his care -- eg have them do the feeding and walking MOST of the time or all the time for several weeks -- so that he isn't so overdependent on one person. And consider that for some dogs, they may be happier confined and removed from the general view of everything, even if others in the family are at home.

29th July 2009, 02:28 AM
If you have the patience to tackle puppyhood again
I havent! I really dont think I have!! TBH I am focussed on Titch and what I can do to make him happy.....not throwing myself into new motherhood lol.
You could try a kitten
Yeah,is a worthwhile thought..!
We do have a 12 year old cat.
Leo(the cat) has not the most instagative of boredom banishing activity ideas I must admit :-P but hell hes company eh?!
I always strongly recommend never leaving a dog loose to roam through the house when no one is at home
Yes I get this.

The problem with a cat is most cats probably will not be really friendly with a dog, not enough to form a strong friendship
I get this too...Altho they do play and sleep together sometimes :-)
Yep will prob opt for professional help soon....I DO try not to reinforce negative behaviour tho.
It may sound silly to some but Im seriously considering a complete career change which involves me being able to take Titch with me to work :-D

Great idea to get us all involved in dogcare but easier said than done to a 15 &18 year old!
They care for him and will talk to him and stroke him but maintenance of said animal?! feeding?! Walking?! Yeah whatever!!.

I have been reading Jan Fennel - The dog Whisperer and its brilliant!!
She talks about the bonding process that needs to be done before any kind of behaviour issues can be resolved and in her seperation anxiety chapter she says about your dog seeing YOU as the baby not the other way round!

I highly recommend it as compulsive reading!

Thank you for all your thoughtful and helpful replies. Ive been so busy - had a power cut for 3 days too sorry didnt reply earlier x

29th July 2009, 04:38 AM
try the water spray,high pitch sound(cringe)collar

in my humble opinion, this would only make things worse.

i have a crate for Peaches, when we first got her she slept in the kitchen and once she had got to know us (long story for another thread) she scratched the door down to get to us at night. so we got a crate.
now she happily goes in there and i have no problems with her seperation anxiety, me on the other hand i miss her when she isnt next to me :D